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What you need to know about surgical masks

What you need to know about surgical masks

Posted by Sam Tucker on 28th Apr 2022

For a long period of time, face masks have been used to protect workers from harmful particulates and respiratory diseases. Various masks have been used in order to protect people working in specific conditions that may affect their health, such as mining, pharmaceutical manufacturing, construction, etc. However, since the pandemic, we’ve seen the usage of FFP3 and FFP2 masks become more dominant in the mask market. Surgical masks have always been used mainly by medical professionals, however, they have become common amongst the masses in recent times. Before you venture out and put your surgical mask on, it’s important that you know all about how to use them.

What are surgical masks and how do they protect you?

Before COVID-19, medical professionals and healthcare workers would wear surgical masks since they were designed to prevent users from catching airborne diseases, mostly bacteria, and viruses. They also prevent wearers from spreading any bodily fluids and pathogens from the nose or mouth. Surgical masks are made from non-woven fabric using the melt-blowing process and comprise two layers - the fluid repellant layer, which is dark green or blue in colour, and the absorbent layer, which is typically white and is worn on the inside.

Surgical masks are often thought highly of compared to cloth masks, especially in highly crowded places, where there are more chances of you catching airborne diseases such as the flu, allergies and even Coronavirus. However, if the risk of infection is extremely high, then it would be advised to wear a proper respirator mask to ensure you have complete protection from anything that might come your way.

What makes surgical masks better than regular masks?

If you’re looking to avoid dust particles from entering your system, then regular masks and cloth masks are ideal for fulfilling this. However, these will only work if they fit well to your face and are formed with around two to three layers. Tightly woven double-layered cloth masks aim to provide better filtration than surgical masks, however, they do not prove to be of much use when you need protection from aerosols and respiratory droplets.

It’s important to note that surgical masks can sometimes be a bit loose-fitting unless they are adequately sealed around the face. When fitted properly, they can protect you from dry particles, micro-organisms, and even bodily fluids that may be released from people coughing or sneezing. Thus, if worn correctly, surgical masks can be deemed more effective than regular cloth masks when it comes to high levels of protection.

When to wear surgical masks?

Ideally, surgical masks are to be worn by medical professionals and healthcare workers, however, if you are taking care of someone with COVID-19 or someone with a transmittable disease, you should wear a surgical mask. It’s also important to advise people that have respiratory illnesses to wear a surgical mask as well. If you don’t need a surgical face mask, you should always opt for a regular cloth mask or the more advanced FFP2 and FFP3 masks that will keep you safe from the majority of infections.

Here at the Face Mask Store, we stock a wide range of respiratory protection, discover what is best suited for you and receive free shipping on orders over £10.


(Photo credit - Photo by Djurre Stoové on Unsplash)